March 14th, 2023
To: Sue Riddlestone, President, Bioregional; Joe Pitts-Cunningham, Team Leader, One Planet Living framework
Subject: A letter of concern regarding Tewin (Ottawa)
From: Sierra Club Canada Foundation, Ecology Ottawa, Greenspace Alliance for Canada’s Capital, Community Associations for Environmental Sustainability, Horizon Ottawa, Citizen Climate Counsel, Peoples Official Plan Coalition (CC-ed)
The concerns we express today relate to a development project called Tewin, located in a newly approved urban expansion area in rural Ottawa.
More than 70 environmental groups and community delegations fiercely opposed any urban expansion, including the Tewin lands, in Ottawa’s new Official Plan. We cannot afford the carbon debt of further urban sprawl, what Dianne Saxe, the former Environment Commission for the Province of Ontario, calls “Ontario’s oil sands.”
We have two questions for Bioregional.
The Tewin project has, since it was first presented to the public and to City Council in October, 2021, used Bioregional’s One Planet Living (OPL) framework for commercial and marketing purposes. In the 15 months since, Tewin has not published an OPL Action Plan to back up its claim. On what basis has Bioregional endorsed the use of the OPL brand for this development?
Over the last few weeks, Tewin deforested some 70 hectares of rural woodlands, containing at least 25,000 trees, according to a respected forest ecologist. Multiple reports by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and CTV (see links below), based on interviews with irate residents and City of Ottawa officials, point out that the deforestation took place under the cover of night and happened without the prior knowledge of residents or the City of Ottawa. This is despite Tewin promises to consult with the neighbouring communities.
Serious concerns continue to be discussed at the political level regarding use by Tewin of an exemption to City of Ottawa tree protection measures reserved exclusively for agricultural businesses, which Tewin is not. The matter is coming up for discussion at a municipal Environment and Climate Change Committee. How can the principles of OPL be reconciled with this egregious action?
We look forward to your response.
Gretchen Fitzgerald, National Program Director, Sierra Club Canada Foundation
Contact for media comment: Ole Hendrickson, Chair, National Conservation Committee at the Sierra Club Canada Foundation Email: firstname.lastname@example.org cell: (613) 735-4876
Alice Irene Whittaker, Executive Director, Ecology Ottawa
Paul Johanis, Chair, Greenspace Alliance for Canada’s Capital
Angela Keller-Herzog, Executive Director, Community Associations for Environmental Sustainability
Joan Freeman, Citizen Climate Counsel
Sam Hersh, Horizon Ottawa
Daniel Buckles, Animator, Peoples Official Plan
Relevant news articles
Reporting by Kate Porter, CBC, on deforestation of Tewin lands:
Reporting by Jackie Perez, CTV, on Tewin lands: